After a weekend full of rumors about some sort of relationship forthcoming between Textron’s Arctic Cat division and Bass Pro Shops and its Tracker boat division, an official deal was announced today: Textron and Bass Pro Shops have announced a “memorandum of understanding” to create the new Tracker line of off-road products… and there was even a hint that something related to snowmobiles could happen down the road.
The announcement came just days after Textron announced that it was taking Textron Off-Road badging off of its ATVs and UTVs and bringing back the Arctic Cat name to those off-road products — which in turn spurred on all sorts of speculation about Textron possibly spinning-off the Arctic Cat division that it purchased less than two years ago. This is definitely a different direction than those rumors.
In a video from the Bass Pro/Tracker/Cabela’s/White River Marine Group dealer meeting in Springfield, Missouri, that was released today – and posted on the website of our sister trade publication Powersports Business – Textron Specialty Vehicles President and CEO Scott Ernest said the Tracker off-road line will initially consist of 90-, 300-, 570- and 700-class ATVs, Prowler Pro and the six-passenger Pro Crew utility-focused UTVs and the Wildcat XX side-by-side sport vehicle from the Arctic Cat world, plus the PVT and EV model lines from Textron’s traditional golf cart line.
The Tracker off-road vehicles will be made at what snowmobilers know as the Arctic Cat factory in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, which should bring a big sigh of relief to those in that town who have been sweating the various rumors about their brand and factory. Ernest then briefly turned his attention to our little world.
“The next kind of product that we could talk about is snow, but I’m not sure we really want to jump into snow right now,” Ernest said while standing in front of a huge screen that showed images of Arctic Cat trail, utility, cross-over and touring machines. “We do make a full line of snowmobiles and I know some of you have the ability to see snow once in awhile, so if there’s some interest there we’ll obviously be happy to support you in that activity going forward.”
Arctic Cat and Bass Pro Shops have a long history together – most Bass Pro Shops are Arctic Cat dealerships, and we personally attended an Arctic Cat ATV/UTV product launch that was held at a Texas Bass Pro Shop in 2010. This announcement expands that relationship to the Tracker Boat brand with private labeling and sales at its dealerships, with hints toward bigger things in the future.
Here’s the full press release that announced the deal:
World leader in technology unites with world leader in boating to offer breakthrough value, performance and service
Union of two legendary American Brands is a game changer for the ATV category
The powerhouse partnership will bring together TRACKER, part of Bass Pro’s White River Marine Group and the undisputed world leader in boating – with Textron – a global leader in innovation and technology.
“We’re extremely excited to extend the TRACKER legacy of delivering unmatched breakthrough value and quality for a whole new category of outdoor recreation and fun with TRACKER OFF ROAD,” said Johnny Morris, noted conservationist and leader of The Great Outdoors Group that includes iconic outdoor brands like TRACKER, Ranger, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. “These vehicles are designed and manufactured to deliver the industry-leading quality our customers have come to expect from the TRACKER brand. Our incredible partners at Textron are forging TRACKER OFF ROAD vehicles with the same levels of deep expertise that goes into building state-of-the-art business jets, marine assault vehicles and military helicopters.”
TRACKER Off Road vehicles will be sold through the world’s leading independent boat dealer network of select Ranger, Triton, and Tracker, and other independent dealers, as well as at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s locations, which host more than 200 million outdoor lovers annually. Proudly manufactured in the United States, TRACKER OFF ROAD vehicles are now in production and expected to make their debut this spring.
American legends of innovation and technology ensure a bright future for riders everywhere
The new models will be designed in partnership with Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc., known worldwide for its brands and products that serve numerous industries. TSV product lines include Arctic Cat snowmobiles, side-by-sides and ATVs; Cushman utility vehicles, E-Z-GO golf cars, Jacobsen professional turf care equipment, and Textron GSE ground support equipment. TSV will manufacture TRACKER OFF ROAD vehicles at its facility in Thief River Falls, Minn.
“We are thrilled to partner with Johnny Morris and TRACKER to launch this amazing new line of products,” said Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Specialized Vehicles. “The TRACKER brand is renowned and respected by lovers of the outdoors all over the world, and we are proud to design and manufacture this new line of side-by-sides and ATVs that will extend its reach and reputation into the off-road industry. These rugged, reliable and versatile vehicles are worthy of the TRACKER brand and wear it with pride.”
America’s biggest celebrities and conservationists kick off blockbuster brand launch
TRACKER OFF ROAD will be marketed to Bass Pro’s large database of outdoor sportsmen. To kick off the campaign, the two American icons introduced the new off-road line with high-profile celebrities and sportsmen including NFL Super Bowl Champion Peyton Manning, country music star Luke Bryan, Professional Bull Riding legend “Cool Hand” Luke Snyder and fishing legend Jimmy Houston. They joined Johnny to help unveil the new vehicles for more than 2,000 team members, dealers, and special guests at Bass Pro Shops headquarters in Springfield, Missouri. The event was broadcast live Jan. 17 to all Bass Pro and Cabela’s stores and more than 600 independent dealers worldwide.
As part of the launch event, NASCAR champion Martin Truex, Jr. made a special appearance to unveil the new No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota Camry paint scheme for the 2019 season as part of Joe Gibbs Racing. TRACKER Boats and ATVs will be prominently displayed on the car throughout the 2019 season as part of an ongoing partnership between Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, TRACKER and the avid outdoorsman.
TRACKER OFF ROAD to support leading conservation groups to continue winning tradition.
In keeping with Johnny Morris’ lifetime commitment to conservation, TRACKER OFF-ROAD will also help support several of the nation’s leading not-for-profit conservation organizations as the Official Off-Road Vehicle of both the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Quality Deer Management Association. Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wild Turkey Federation, was on-hand for the announcement and to discuss its role in advancing conservation.
TRACKER’s legendary revolution rolls on…
The TRACKER Off Road announcement is considered to be among the most significant since the company’s historic launch more than 40 years ago. In 1978, avid young angler and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris revolutionized the marine industry when he introduced the world’s first professionally rigged and nationally marketed boat, motor and trailer packages. The innovative approach suddenly made the joy of fishing and boating more affordably available to millions of families. TRACKER Boats quickly became and has remained the number one selling fishing boat brand in America.
Today, the company’s marine manufacturing division – now known as White River Marine Group – is the largest manufacturer of boats in the world by volume, manufacturing quality boats offering performance, innovation and value with world-class service with an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading brands.
The legend lives on as TRACKER OFF ROAD customers will be able to rely on the brand’s renowned customer friendly shopping process, extensive network of authorized service centers for all their vehicular needs, from the purchase and installation of TRACKER OFF ROAD accessories to maintenance, service and support for their vehicles. More information will be available in the coming weeks and months.
About Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops is North America’s premier outdoor and conservation company. Founded in 1972 when avid young angler Johnny Morris began selling tackle out of his father’s liquor store in Springfield, Missouri, today the company provides customers with unmatched offerings spanning premier destination retail, outdoor equipment manufacturing, world-class resort destinations and more. In 2017 Bass Pro Shops acquired Cabela’s to create a “best-of-the-best” experience with superior products, dynamic locations and outstanding customer service. Bass Pro Shops also operates White River Marine Group, offering an unsurpassed collection of industry-leading boat brands, and Big Cedar Lodge, America’s Premier Wilderness Resort. Under the visionary conservation leadership of Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops is a national leader in protecting habitat and introducing families to the outdoors and has been named by Forbes as “one of America’s Best Employers.”
About Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc.
Textron Specialized Vehicles Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of golf cars, utility and personal transportation vehicles, snowmobiles, side-by-sides, all-terrain vehicles, professional turf-care equipment, and ground support equipment. Textron Specialized Vehicles markets products under the E-Z-GO, Cushman, Arctic Cat, Jacobsen, Ransomes, TUG, Douglas, Premier and Safeaero brands. Its vehicles are found in environments ranging from golf courses to factories, airports to planned communities, and theme parks to hunting preserves.
About Textron Inc.
Textron Inc. is a multi-industry company that leverages its global network of aircraft, defense, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell, Cessna, Beechcraft, Hawker, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Arctic Cat, Textron Systems, and TRU Simulation + Training. For more information visitwww.textron.com.
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